Williams death a sad reminder

ROBIN Williams touched many lives with his quick wit and gift of being able to make others laugh.

Indeed generations have watched many characters come to life on our screens as Williams went from strength to strength as an entertainer.

Even those who perhaps didn't like his movies could acknowledge Williams' talent.

There is no doubt the world this week lost a true entertainer. Someone who made others smile.

But at the same time, Williams had his own inner struggle - and he was not alone.

As we grieved his death, at least seven Australians would have taken their own lives.

Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44 years.

Lifeline reports that deaths by suicide have reached a 10 year peak and men account for three out of every five deaths. They are least likely to seek help.

For every person who dies through suicide, at least 30 others will attempt to take their own lives - equating to about 200 attempts per day, or one every 10 minutes.

Statistics always make for dry reading - but if ever there was a number to pay attention to it's this: 2535. That is how many people took their own lives in Australia in 2012. In 2010, that number was 2361.

Yesterday Williams' wife Susan Schneider wrote 'I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken'. 

For every one of the 2535 people who died from suicide in 2012, and every person who has died from suicide since, there are families, friends and communities who can so deeply relate to those words.

Those most at risk of suicide are people with a history of trying to take their own lives, depression, psychotic illness, eating disorders or drug and alcohol abuse problems.

Depression will affect one in seven Australians during their lifetime. It can leave many feeling isolated, alone and feeling they have nowhere to turn.

We each have a role to play in helping to prevent deaths by suicide. We need to keep talking, recognising changing behaviours and moods. 

There is some great work being done in our community by groups such as the Suicide Prevention Awareness Network and HALT.

HALT formed when Jeremy Forbes and a group of friends recognised a need to raise awareness about anxiety, depression and well-being in the tradie community.

The goal is to get tradies talking to each other; looking out for each other.

Lifeline offers some helpful advice on how to look out for people you care about and those you think might be considering suicide.

It also offers guidance for those with suicidal thoughts. It is thought about 1000 people think of suicide daily, with abut 250 people making a suicide plan - but most who consider suicide are able to find a way through their crisis.

We need to all find a way to reach out to those who believe they can't find that way through.

www.lifeline.org.au or 13 11 14


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